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7.30 A.C.T. -

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(generated from captions) That is the latest from the Canberra newsroom. For more ACT news, you can follow us online or on Twitter. Stay with us now for 7.30 ACT with Chris Kimball. I'm Virginia Haussegger and I will be back with a news update in an hour. Good night. Captions by CSI Australia This Program Is Captioned Live.

Hello. Welcome to 7.30 ACT. I'm Chris Kimball. It's good to be with you. This week - the risks and the rewards from living near the bush environment. We'll start with the downside and the bushfires that are already burning around the country. So early in the season. We'll check on the devastating New South Wales fires shortly, but first, how fire ready are we in this region, with the fuel loads heavier than usual, particularly in the High Country? It's the first summer season in the top job for Canberra's new Fire Service chief. He spoke with Jeremy Thompson. January 18, 2003. A day Canberrans won't easily forget. The heat the howling winds and the inferno which left 500 homes in flames and four people dead.We hadn't seen anything like that in this city in the modern era.And it was a city ill prepared for the onslaught. Those not away on holidays had done little, if anything, to prepare.the emergency response while willing was shop bomb lick. There wasn't even a common radio frequency for the various emergency services. The services commissioner insists we've come a long way since then.We have a joint facility at fair burn where all operational services now work together. We have a common radio system that works across not only emergency services but across government. That assists with transport, policing and other agencies in the Territory. Not only can I take at a strategic level, but our fire trucks can talk to each other on the fire ground, as soon as they get there and they're working together which means our operations are much safer and far more efficient right from the start.There's no doubt the emergency services have been busy since 2003. More crews, both in town and in the Rural Fire Service brigades, and more equipment. For example, now fire teams can be delivered by helicopter to a lightning strike. In town, there are new fire stations like this one at Charnwood opened today and it may well be needed this year. Potentially, we're looking at a nasty one.With four wet seasons over the last couple of years we've seen significant growth in our forest areas and again with the rain we've had, our grasslands are quite developing a fuel base at this time of year. Obviously we're looking for some significant rain between now and Christmas or the fire conditions will become dangerous very quickly here on the tableland and around the ACT region. In 2003, we saw the fire really impact those suburb on the edge of town. Do you expect the same scenario if there was another fire this time?There are many parts of Canberra being the bush capital where you could have a fire start in the middle of the city somewhere and impact on other parts of the city. We shouldn't just be concerned about fires where they've burned before on the western parts of city. There are other parts of Canberra and the surrounding region that are equally at risk. It's a warning that everyone needs to assume there will be a fire. And get prepared. And not to expect a handy fire truck to protect life and property. What should people do right now to prepare their homes for bushfire?The very first thing I would implore everyone to do is to go to our web site and download our bushfire survival plan. That will tell you all the basics that everyone should nope. Clearing round your property, ensuring you have back-up water supplies, ensuring you have an escape rate should you need to use it, ensuring you have an emergency kit which not only helps the bushfires, but also one of the other key risks we face here in the Territory, storms. We've seen those significant storm events over last number of years. You should have an emergency pack which has spare clothing, a portable radio, a torch, waterproof blanket and rain wear which can always then be used, whether it be a bushfire or some other natural disaster. Then there's the perennial question: do you stay and fight or leave and hope for the best?If people are properly prepare and have a bushfire survival plan and understand the actions they're going to take, then it is safe for them to stay and defend those properties. Is your house defendable? Are you healthy enough? Are there other people thaw need to pro effect? Unless you consider all those facts you can't make a decision about whether you can stay and fight or leave.It is only a matter of time until we see significant bushfire season hitting here in Canberra. Whether we have the impact of previous fires is yet to be determined. Dozens of bushfires continue to burn across New South Wales, despite the easing weather continues. More than 2,000 firefighters from New South Wales are at work along with crews from
around the country, including many from the ACT. The scene in the worst hit areas of the Blue Mountains has been described as one of utter devastation. With fears as many as 200 homes have been destroyed and lives lost. Another fire on the Central Coast has been described as a monster. And all this before the weather heats up again on Sunday. Sean Reubenstein-Dunlop reports from the Blue Mountains town of Winmalee.

At Winmalee in the Blue Mountains, the morning after told a devastating story.I think there's hot in one piece. For 630 years, Dianne Thorpe has called this area home. - 60 years.Always been in the mountains.Ever had a fire like?Not this bad. This is what she discovered this morning. A family's whole life turned to rubble.

All my clothe, everything I owned, photos of the kids, things from my mother that - she's just died. Things from my mother-in-law, she's gone. Things from Megan's welding that's coming up in December. It's all gone.Yeah. A month and a half out from the wedding and all the table decorations were over there. Did you manage to save anything?Nope. Nope. By the time we knew there was a fire, the roads were closed and we couldn't even get home to get our dog. So ... What happened to the dog?He perished over there. (Cries)

Streets away, the McGuinnesses returned to the home they've been building for 10 years. What have you lost, Julie?Everything. Everything. It was our dream home. It's been years. We designed it. We put everything we wanted to have in it for the rest of our lives to stay here. But yeah. You look, it's hardly recognisable that there's anything in there. It's incredible, a whole house can be reduced to nothing.In literally a couple of hours.But she could've lost so much more. Her son Lucas was lucky to walk away with his life. So you were just studying in here?I was just siting in the lounge room watching TV like studying as well. The 17-year-old was home alone when the fires hit. He was studying for his HSC when things deteriorated very quickly.I saw spoke. Then the RFS came down and they told me like I should start to evacuate. So then I ran inside, called dad. I was like what do I do? Then I looked out the window. I saw there was fire behind the neighbour's house.Just next door?Just next door, like probably 50m away.He got in one of the cars, he got that started, he got that out, he come back, got the racket. As he drove away he said the roof was on fi, one of the fire bomb helicopters was bombing next door and the top of our roof. Yeah. Just nothing you could do. Nothing you could save. Your parents must've been terrified?Oh ... like my mum came straight to me and she got a call and she just burst into tears knowing what's happening. Then I was just home alone and nobody was around.It's unimaginable to think of what can happen to your child. But he's alive and so far, we don't know of anyone that has lost anyone. Everyone in the street has got each other. We're alive. We're here.

Some came even closer to tragedy.One of the neighbours over here, quite an invalid gentleman, was in his house the whole time through, and he - you know he needed help. He couldn't get out. He couldn't walk down, but it must've been just terrifying for the guy. Just terrifying. Of course the houses immediately behind him are still, like, you know, full throttle fire in those houses. Volunteers like Ian Palmer waited desperately for hours to get into the fire zone.As soon as it was given a clear for us guys to kit up and come in, we got in and it was - there was still houses that hadn't caught on fire and but these two over other, good friends of mine ... (Pauses)Nothing you can do. It's just come through.

What happened to their house?It's gone.It was the speed of it, know. All these bad conditions came together. A dry, hot winter. Incredible winds and temperatures yesterday. Bang.

Winmalee had been hit by another bushfire just a month earlier.

This time, scores of homes have been lost in the area. The total number is still unknown. Some locals still thought themselves lucky.

The house is not worth a life, is it?Mum was stressing, we raced home, the next door neighbours on our roof. Still on fire. It was the combination of 30 degree-plus temperatures and 70 kilometre winds that caught everyone by surprise. Fire crews were stretched to the limit, as fires blazed across a huge front.

At Lithgow over 25,000 hectares of land was destroyed. And the village of Dargan had to be evacuated.A pretty hairy trip into Lithgow, because road was burning on both sides in some cases and the heat was pretty incredible an lots of smoke.South of Sydney, a major blaze threatened the small Hamlet of Balmoral.A large number of units attacking this fire. Several units on property protection. We're hoping the house is still there. It's been a pretty ferocious fire. The wind's blowing now so we're just hoping for the best. Cooler temperatures brought some relief today, but the fire threat continues. Back in min (e) Winmalee in's a close community determined to rebuild. They will need all the support they can get.The neighbours are great. Everyone's strong. Good sense of humour. Everyone will help everyone.

Like the Blue Mountains, the natural bush environment around the ACT can be both brutal and at times beautiful. Mr Freeze is a mystery man. He takes photos of the High Country and then sends them to a selected collection of people around Canberra. Some of those people work at Triple 6 and one is James Vyver. He decided to meet the photographer in his natural habitat. What first drew you to the High Country?I don't know. Just the magic of it. As a kid you would imagine, you know, lots of different things are going to be encounter. I've encountered way more than I imagined anyway but there's always something here to get you here and it hasn't disappointed. Not from what I first envisioned anyway. In the 90s I think I started thinking more of photographic trips, you know, like, to get certain creeks and gullies and view tops and vistas and things.How many pictures do you?Hundreds of thousands. Literally tens of thousands on slide. Then print film. And then I like to probably quarter of a million plus shots on digital, on discs and everything. More than I will ever know what to do with.What are you trying to capture in your photography?The #3450ds of the mountains I suppose. Or what's happening at the time when you're there in the hills, whether it's the fog and the mist. Beautiful sunrises and crystal clears on the type of Franklin here. You just capture the moods of the mountains really. What lengths have you gone to to capture some of your images?One was a classic. The walk I did from Kyandra going into table top mountain then the halfway point at Yann slip rail before you go into Four Mile Hut and setting up the camera for a time exposure and then unexpectedly to get the colours of the spectrum refracting off the ice and the snow that was a bonus for the shot.

Just how cold does it get up here?In the frost hollows definitely mines in 20s and below, in the frost plains, and also the Jagunga wilderness area. Many times I have kampd out it easily would've been well below minus 15 or 20 below. Sometimes I will camp under the stars. On a clear night I have a good sleeping bag and a mattress so I'm comfortable. In 2003 you came up here to watch the bushfires. What did it look like?Well, pretty much it was just like a huge inferno coming over the ranges from Tidbinbilla range and Gingerra and then Macintyre's, just one huge fire all mergeing to one and just coming over the mountains into the grasslands. At a high rate of knots. Just is incredible, the speed it travelled. And its power. And it quickly engulfed everything. No person, no firefighting intervention could've prevented on the day, but it's so beautiful to know it's all growing back and how in another 10 years, this will be tall forests again and you have to point out people where there has been a fire so they won't notice so much.When you're out here walking and snow shooting, cross country skiing, photography, how does it make you feel?Oh like - it's a bit hard to explain, but you get that much energy. Yeah, you just can go all day and you don't think about being tired and hot and sore shoulders or aching legs. You're just thinking of how great it is to be here and you enjoy every moment of it. You're privileged to be here, we're privileged to have it. Sounds like you learned some life lessons out here in the bush?Yeah, well, definitely life lessons that are basic, but the things that everybody should have a think about, how lucky you are to be here to have the fitness, have your sight or your senses. A pair of legs to walk. Shoulders to carry your pack and everything. It's great we have wilderness and this on our backyard in Canberra, this is, you couldn't ask for anything more, really.

Beautiful images. Until now, such walks through our High Country would've been impossible for someone with a mobility impairment. This week, ACT a sew caseed a brand new wheelchair service, using an all-terrain chair that will give more people more freedom to enjoy the wilderness. The first to give it a try at Tidbinbilla was David Stratton.

This is the trail rider, an $8,000 all-terrain wheelchair, designed to make the bush accessible to all. David Stratton and his wife Ros were influential in bringing the Canadian designed chairs to Australia. There are now seven of them in use in Victoria and this was the first ACT test run at Tidbinbilla.It's beautiful. Yes, it's - this is really a nice walk in the park, to be honest.Quite literally?Yes, like the - it can go serious ly on very, very difficult territory there's been a couple of trial rider exhibitions to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and a couple of Everest base camp. Not with me. Not yet?Not yemt. Say that to Ros! The chair balances on its single wheel. Two or three sherpas help with the ride. It's a simple concept with significant implications.For me personally, it's absolutely extraordinary to be out in a truly mild place. I used to do it obviously when I was walking and I really thought I wouldn't do it any more until the trail rider came upon me. I have multiple sclerosis, MS. And I'm in the later stages of MS where I just get weaker. And I was diagnosed in '96 and I've been in a wheelchair since the turn of the century more or less.What does it mean to you to be out in this environment, what do you enjoy about the bush?It's seeing wild creatures. Seeing wild plants. I picked blueberries on the trail in Canada. And that was really the single moment for me, just to be bending over and picking the blueberries off the bush, and being in truly high places and looking out across great vistas, which I wouldn't otherwise, and nobody in a wheelchair would. This trail rider was a gift to the ACT Parks Service from community group the National Parks association. It's now available to hire for people with a range of mobility issues. It's designed to be able to access some of these more difficult areas in terms of walking traipse and tracks but the other important here is that the all-terrain vehicle is available for anyone within the ACT parks an conservation service. Here today at Tidbinbilla we're tryinging it for a trial run, if had been had a desire to make it to Mullighan's Flat, mount Ainslie, Black Mountain, it's available for hire anywhere across the ACT. That's an important message0 get out there.If you think about the people who are unfortunate like me in not being able to walk, a lot of them would've been walking earlier in their livers and would've en swroid the bush and would be losing that completely. For them it's like a big door being opened. And then there are all kinds of other people as well that might never have thought of themselves being in the bush or might be too old and infirm or overweight to get out in the bush or kids that have been disabled from birth perhaps. That's the icing on the cake.

All these wonderful places, I mean Tidbinbilla, I mean, I'd be in the car park if it weren't for the trail rider. Now I'm out here, I'm in the middle of it, surrounded by the trees and surrounded by nature.It's a pity good way to travel by the look of it?It's very comfortable. Enjoy.

And just down the road from Tidbinbilla, you will find the historic homestead of Lambrigg. But history and science make way for art this weekend. The place where William Farrer's experiments launched our multibillion dollar wheat industry is the setting for a unique exhibition. Forget Sculptures by the Sea. This is Sculptures by the Murrumbidgee. More than 100 works from 30 artists in Lambrigg's beautiful gardens.

This is seems like a wonderful combination of a historic homestead, a beautiful setting and some really interesting diverse works. Yeah, look, it's pretty compelling sight. It's got the river, it's not the hills behind. You have a great garden. We're here at spring. We have lovely large trees, really old trees, 120, 140-year-old trees, nice old homestead and some works which that the old and the new in terms of the materiality and so on.

A few years ago there was the open gardens plan here at Lambrigg. There was 3,500 people through that day. It's certainly a place that is of interest to Canberra people(it's got a history of Farrer with the rust wheat, rust resistant wheat trials and so on. It's got the history of the Gullets being an early member of Parliament: it's proximity to Canberra. It's just over the river.

The joy for us and the reward is to be able to then share Lambrigg with others. So we hope lots of people hop in their cars and come and visit and see these fabulous works but quite often people say we had no idea this was here. It so it seems to remain a bit of a secretHopefully not this weekend. Hopefully not this weekend.

We'd love people to come and enjoy TWhy do you like sharing it with people so much? I think the interaction with people who are interested in similar things is always fun and interesting.

William Farrer dropped dead, umpl, on step over your shoulder there. What do you think he'd think of the sculptures in the gardens at his beautiful ... Some of them really pick up that pastoral sort of nature of the work. Some of the cut-out horses and I suppose modified sort of steel from old farm equipment. Some of them would be really quite - he'd have no trouble at all getting his head around what's now a artwork. But some things would be a bit of a challenge. But it's always good. That's the thing about art.This is Canberra's version of Sculptures by the Sea? Sculptures by the Murrumbidgee? Sculptures by the Murrumbidgee, sculptures in the garden, sculptures in the paddock and so on. You're a farmer and a fencing contractor and you've created your own works of art using your fencing experience, it's an interesting combination?It is, Chris. And I guess after using wire for 30 years for purely pragmatic reasons, I not so long ago decided it would be fun make something with a little more aesthetic attraction.Do you think he has a future as an artist, Kate?Certainly. Keeps him busy through the winter months out here in the carport. Keeps him out of your ...Away from me.

Wonderful hosts. Sculptures in the Garden is tomorrow and Sunday, and don't forget the Rural Fire Service open day is on Sunday at Hume. They can show you everything you need to know to be fire rt. That's it from us. Our editor this week was Rowen Grant. We came across a beautiful short film he made recently of his whacky adventures in Canada. Then we stole it so we could show it to you. It's called Whistler Sky. Please enjoy. We'll see you next week.

Captions by CSI Australia

£ Theme music

(Cheering and applause)

Good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening,
good evening, good evening. Welcome to QI, where tonight's show is completely and
utterly incomprehensible. Venturing into the unknown with me
tonight are... What's-his-name? (Applause and cheering)

And... Oh, you know! (Applause)

And... Wait, don't tell me! (Applause and cheering)

And, finally... No, I've never
seen him before in my life. (Applause and cheering)

Our buzzers tonight are no less
perplexing than our questions. Sue goes...
(Baby babbles) (Laughter)
Eleven types of wrong, just there. Brian goes.
(Synthesiser zaps) Ross goes...
(High-pitched ranting)

Alan goes...
(Alan talks gibberish) '..dirty old bag.'
(Laughter) Wow!
Is that your internal dialogue? I think so! I don't
know how they got that. Don't forget, in this series,
we have the Nobody Knows joker. (Fanfare plays)
MAN: Nobody knows! There are some questions
to which no-one knows the answer, and if you think the question I ask
has no known, authoritative answer, then play your Nobody Knows joker
and you will get extra points. Let's start with something that
is not even in the same language. Listen to this
and tell me what it means. (Animal squeaks)

(Laughs) That's a rodent.It's a rodent.
Good. Can you narrow it down? Is it the squeaky door to his rodent
house?He's asking for some oil. The astonishing thing is,
we do know what that means. I can vouch for this.
There are people who study this. My director on one
of my documentaries got a PhD from Oxford
studying frog communication. He sat there for three years. He was a professor of French?
(Laughter) No, stop it. Sorry. He sat there for three years, in
the outback, somewhere in Australia, and he discerned about three words,
which I think were something like... 'Ribbit.'
(Laughter) You are absolutely right. There are
zoologists who spend their life trying to understand communications
of various species. Do you know what this species is? The gopher.
It is a gopher. A prairie dog. It's
also known as a ground squirrel. It's a type of squirrel. Isn't ground squirrel a condiment? (Laughter) A little ground squirrel, madam? (Laughter)

He's making that
face 'cause he's got Philip Schofield's hand up his bum.
(Laughter) That takes me back a bit! (Laughter)
Is that what the squeaking noise is?